Brownstone Areas Getting Wealthier, Despite Recession

January 27, 2012 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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Trend Isn’t Slowing, Says

Brooklyn College Report

By Raanan Geberer

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Brooklyn Daily Eagle

BROOKLYN — Despite economic conditions, gentrification keeps on progressing in Community District 2, comprising the Heights, DUMBO, Downtown, Boerum Hill and Fort Greene; and District 6, comprising Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Red Hook, Gowanus and Park Slope.

So say figures are from a series of recently released “Brooklyn Neighborhood Reports” from Brooklyn College’s Center for the Study of Brooklyn. In the future, we’ll also be looking at Greenpoint/Williamsburg and Sunset Park/Bay Ridge.

Gentrification, spurred by “brownstoners” who sought to renovate old, dilapidated buildings began in the Heights in the 1960s, then spread to Park Slope, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens and Fort Greene. All of these neighborhoods are in Community Districts 2 and 6.

In Community District 2, the median gross income per household is $65,836, up from $52,342 in 2000. In Community District 6, the median gross income per household is $84,154, as opposed to $66,000 in the year 2000.

Another way of gauging wealth is the amount paid in rent per household (for those who rent, as opposed to own). In District 2, the median gross rent went up from $878 in 2000 to $1,104 in 2007-09 — a 25 percent increase. In District 6, between 2000 and 2007-9, the median rent per household rose from $1,141 to $1,499. This is an even higher increase — 31 percent.

In addition, the percentages of people spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing in both areas is lower than in the borough at large, as is the rate of foreclosure.

It should be noted, however, that both areas contain low-income housing projects — indeed, the Red Hook Houses, within District 6, is the biggest project in the city.

Turning to other factors, 77 percent of the high school students in Community District 2 graduated on time, compared to 64.6 percent in Community District 6. Of the total adult residents, 56 percent had a B.A. or higher in District 2, compared to a slightly higher 64.6 percent in District 6.

In a breakdown by race, District 2 is 43 percent white vs. 32.5 percent in 2000. District 6 is 64.9 percent white vs. 55.7 percent 2000. In both areas, the black population has declined — for example, the percentage in District 2 is 31 percent now vs. 39 percent in 2000. The black population within District 6 decreased from 11.5 percent to 8 percent in the same period, and the Latino population decreased from 23.8 percent to 18.2 percent.

In both areas, the population is about evenly split between men and women, and in both, about 65 percent of all residents take public transportation to work.

One interesting statistic which may have to do with an increasing number of young people — in District 2, the average number of noise complaints per 10,000 people was 29.3 in 2007-9 vs. 19 in 2000.

For the purposes of healthcare, the United Hospital Fund puts both areas together as the “Heights-Downtown-Slope” neighborhood. Here, health indicators are better than in the rest of the city. For example, the obesity rate is 17.5 percent vs. 25 percent in the borough at large.

The number of adults who report having exercised within the last month is 77 percent, about the same as in 2000, but compared to 69.6 percent in the borough at large. Rates of binge drinking and smoking are also lower.

Finally, both districts have more than 10 community gardens each.

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